Integrating your Firewall with your VPN connection

windows-7-firewallA personal VPN account is designed to give you added levels of security when you browse the Internet by using various protocols to encrypt your data and mask your IP address. VPN’s work very well, but users need to be aware of ways that security can be unintentionally breached and make a few small adjustments to avoid potential problems.

Dropped internet connections

Your VPN from VPNaccounts is very dependable. Our servers stay up and running, and they are well-maintained. It is still possible, however, for your device to drop its connection on occasion. A dropped connection can result from many things…a brief power outage, interference with your Internet signal, etc. Dropped connections are one of those things that just happen from time to time.

The concern, as far as using a VPN goes, is that most people have their computers configured to automatically reconnect in the case of a temporary interruption of their Internet signal. When this reconnect happens, your device will connect to your ISP server but not to your VPN. Since many of these temporary signal interruptions are so brief, you might not even notice them as you are browsing. In other words, you could resume browsing and be unaware that your VPN connection has been dropped.

A simple fix when you want to stay connected to VPN

There is a simple fix to ensure that your VPN is connected each time you are online. It only requires a tweaking a few settings to your firewall.

Before we get into the instructions for managing your firewall, we should state that there are numerous firewall applications in use today. It is impossible here to give precise instructions for each one, so we’re going to address how to do this with the Windows Firewall that comes with the Windows operating system. If you are using a different firewall, the process should be fairly similar to the one we are going to show you. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Connect to your VPN. Make sure that your VPN is configured as a Private Network that you trust
  2. Go to Control PanelàSystem and SecurityàWindows Firewall. You will then arrive at the following screen:windowsfirewall-vpn-1
  3. Click Advanced Settings on the left.
  4. Click Inbound Rules on the next screen:windowsfirewall-vpn-2
  5. In the right pane, click New Rule:windowsfirewall-vpn-3
  6.  On the next screen, make sure “Program” is checked and click “Next”:windowsfirewall-vpn-4
  7. Type in the file path to your primary browser (if you are unsure how to do this, there are instructions provided on the page. For example, if you use Mozilla as your browser, enter the Mozilla file path.
  8. Next, select “Block the connection”.
  9. Next, check “Public” Make sure that “Domain” and “Private” are unchecked.
  10. Repeat these steps for Outbound Rules.

What this does is pretty simple. Whenever you are using an unsecured public network to connect to the Internet, the settings you have just configured will allow your browser to ONLY work when you are connected to your VPN. So, if your VPN connection happens to get dropped, your browser will not receive or transmit data across the public network. In other words, you’ve just created your own VPN-based firewall.

These steps might sound a little complicated, but the whole process takes less than ten minutes and you will be able to connect to public WiFi hotspots without being concerned if your VPN connection gets dropped. If it does, you will know it immediately because your browser will be blocked.

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